Evading efficiency

Hollywood blockbusters like to bounce around the phrase that knowledge is power, but when it comes to printing efficiency there is an alarming lack of action amongst those in the know. ACN looks into it.

Tags: Canon Middle EastHewlett-Packard CompanyKyocera Mita CorporationPrinterUnited Arab EmiratesXerox Corporation
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Evading efficiency TADA: Holistic solutions can promote cost-savings without compromising on quality and is a key strategy for an implementation.
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By  ACN Staff Writer Published  October 25, 2009 Arabian Computer News Logo

We have John-Dalberg Acton to thank for coining the phrase ‘power tends to corrupt but absolute power corrupts absolutely’. The same could be said about printing efficiency because let’s face it; CIOs hold sway over the printing strategy of most organisations, though it is often neglected. Management tends to see printing as little more than a service.

In a recent interview with ACN, HP’s managing director for the Gulf region, John Hoonhout talked about how CIOs don’t actually pay their own power bills, which leads to a distinct lack of interest in datacentre cooling costs. 

This is an understandable attitude in a world gripped by dollars-and-cents attitudes but this ultimately means that you are neglecting areas of your organisation where further cost-savings could be had.

This is precisely what happens with printing, as IT is often tasked with ensuring that the hordes of office staff can print to their heart’s content. Unfortunately this is done without considering if the printing is being handled efficiently.

Simple measures such as duplex printing – commonly known as double-sided printing – can halve paper costs and is a feature that printers have had for decades, yet switching it on seems to be too much of an inconvenience for many. In reality it increases the frustration of users, as they have to manually flick the printer over to single-sided printing when a fancy report going to clients has to be printed. But this is small potatoes when compared to the business saving that can be realised by forcing employees to print wisely.

Much like all things involved with printing efficiency, this isn’t a new concept and most CIOs have it circling at the back of their mind. However, there is no prerogative to put it into place. Indeed, the most common strategy to appease the need to ‘do something’ seems to be to plaster green recycling signs next to printers, slap a paper recycling box somewhere in the office that will go straight to landfill and tack on a “please think of the environment before printing” message on corporate email signatures.

These are all well and good but industry analysts will tell you that you won’t gain any traction with these methodologies unless you obtain buy-in from employees and that requires changing the corporate mindset. While it may take a while to overcome the resistance-to-change of some members of staff, eventually they will come to understand the benefits to the overall organisation of an efficient printing strategy and how in the long run, it allows the company to cut down on costs.

Brother – 5% of Middle Eastern IT revenue spent on printing

Gartner released a report which claimed that up to five percent of Middle Eastern IT revenues are spent on printing and imaging. Quick to capitalise on Gartner’s findings, Brother International Corporation Gulf released a statement claiming this increase in spending has prompted organisations to look for ways of controlling and managing their printing and imaging costs.

Brother has just launched the HL-5300 professional mono laser printer series, in what it calls an aim to help firms cut down on cost during the economic downturn.

“As the pressure rises for companies to cut down on their expenses, the implementation of holistic solutions that can promote cost-savings without compromising on quality is a key strategy that can help lower costs. By optimising their infrastructure, companies can save up to 30 percent on their printing and imaging, which is a significant percentage that can boost their efforts on cutting their expenses,” said Shinji Tada, managing director of Brother International Corporation Gulf.

The new HL-300 range is specially targeted at small and medium businesses and Brother claims the printers and their included managment tools enable users to drive down costs and reduce energy usage. “Our new HL-5300 professional mono laser printer series has been developed around this concept, and we are expecting this new range to be appreciated by many regional companies, especially in the enterprise and SMB sector,” added Tada.

All models in the HL-5300 range (including the HL-340D, HL-5350DN, HL-5370DW and the HL-5380DN) come with an automatic duplexr, which can force users to adopt double-sided printing. The use of that feature significantly reduces paper cost and the carbon footprint of the firm. Brother also points out that the new printers offer a high-yield toner, which is good for 8,000 pages and comes with the vaunted Energy Star certification.

“To date, we have introduced an extensive range of mono laser printers to suit every business need and budget. In line with this our commitment extends beyond our aim of delivering the latest technology-driven solutions to clients but also in helping them choose the right model to match their needs,” states Tada.

Brother claims the new range helps users who are more focused on total cost of ownership of a printer and the return on the investment that can be achieved.

“Firms are looking at print volumes and consumables yield and calculating the total cost of their ownership. This becomes more important if a firm uses expensive equipment, as they are looking at a typical printer’s life, which is a minimum of five years. Brother’s latest line offers a three year warranty, which is a definite add-on in terms of investment return. ROI has also become a major factor that businesses are looking into, with efforts being made to cut down on recurring costs by saving toner/ink, paper and power,” reads the company’s statement.

Managed print services: Much more than just the latest buzzword

Kyocera’s Green MPS encompasses three main elements: hardware, software and professional service. To start with hardware, all printers are based on Kyocera’s ECOSYS concept. An acronym for economy, ecology and system solutions, ECOSYS is a core product concept and a crucial element of Green MPS. ECOSYS refers to the exceptionally long component lifetimes on which devices are based. This technology ultimately helps organisations cut expenses, increase efficiency and reduce waste at the same time.

In addition to being ‘toner-only’ Kyocera printers also help reduce wastage by featuring a duplex unit as standard, allowing offices to cut down on paper consumption by printing double-sided. Users can also combine double-sided printing with the ‘N-up’ or 2-in-1 / 4-in-1 feature of Kyocera’s KX driver, resulting in two or four pages being printed on one side of a sheet of paper. This will lead to an even bigger reduction of paper and also toner usage. To cut down on toner consumption even more, users can use the KX driver’s EcoPrint feature for internal draft prints that do not require high-quality output.

In addition to equipping printers and drivers with features that help offices adopt an environmentally friendly way of working, Kyocera also initiates professional print assessments at all kinds of organisations, analysing their print fleets and proposing ways of optimising them. A thorough, four-step analysis such as the ones Kyocera initiates point out the weak points in a business’s document management; it will bring to light, for instance, if devices are being underused or overused, undermining an organisation’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness. After having conducted a print audit, channel partners will make an exhaustive optimisation proposal, suggesting the best product allocation, swapping devices or moving devices to a different department or location, replacing standalone devices with networked ones, and equipping devices with secure printing solutions where necessary. To ensure that an organisation’s renewed device fleet will stay in tune with developments and user needs; Kyocera partners monitor its fleet and make adjustments when required.

The second element of Kyocera’s Green MPS, software, also plays an important part in helping offices become and remain ‘green’. The software solution portfolio includes document management, output management and system management, which reduces the amount of paper used and greatly improves workflow and communication efficiency.

One of the applications Kyocera’s portfolio is KMnet Admin, a system management solution. Its web-based platform gives network administrators easy and uncomplicated control of all networked printing devices, not only Kyocera printers and MFP’s, but also most networked devices from other vendors.

KMnet Admin lets administrators keep track of costs across their environment, monitoring output volumes by device, user, device group or user group. Reports showing habits can be created and billing systems and quotas can be put in place. These tools optimise device use across the network, not only controlling costs but also reducing waste.

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